Spain is a wonderfully magical country, filled to the brim with delicious food, welcoming locals and a whole array of customs and cultures that can trip up even the most able and good-intentioned visitor. Below is a collection of expert-chosen tips for those wishing to get ahead in their travels to the country.
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Whether you're exploring the sights in Madrid or hitting the bars in Ibiza, don't let yourself get stuck with an expensive cell phone international roaming bill and instead buy a Spain SIM Card.
You'll be able to keep using your cell phone just like you do at home to post photos to Facebook and Instagram, stay in contact with family and friends through Whatsapp and use all your other favorite apps. It works in Spain and also in more than 30 other European countries.
Contributor: Nick Brennan from Spain SIM Card
Try the Food! Spain is full of some of the most delicious foods in the world. Before visiting, know that each city and region has their own specialty dishes you should try. It helps to do a bit of research beforehand so you know what to look for and you don't waste space in your stomach by eating at touristy places.
Once you're there, ask the locals! Don't just go to the concierge and ask for their suggestions (since they may just send you to a restaurant they have a partnership with), we like talking to people on the street, small shop owners, or even a waiter wherever you are currently eating. Ask about their favorite spots and what you should order there.
Contributor: Jacob Fu from localadventurer.com
Do your best in helping your local community. If your neighbors have a problem that you can solve, don't stop yourself out of fear that your help will be rejected. Spanish people are warm and friendly you won't be turned down just because you are a foreigner.
Contributor: Kate Hart from fantasticservices.com
Spanish have later meal times than many of us are used to, with several smaller snacks in between.
A typical lunch is from 2pm and is the biggest meal of the day, often times being three courses.
You would have a later afternoon snack from 5pm, or possibly drinks and tapas (aperitivos) after work before finally having a small dinner around 9:30 or 10.
The sooner you get on the Spanish eating schedule the more likely you are to be able to better interact with locals. You’ll stick out as a tourist if you turn up for a 7pm dinner!
Contributor: Nathan Aguilera from foodieflashpacker.com
Madrid is home to some of the most chilled people you’ll ever meet, but ironically, this is the city that never sleeps and these people know how to party. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is (yes, even Sunday), early nights are not the norm and coffee is encouraged. The easy-going nature of the locals teamed with their passion for good times makes Madrid a pleasant city to explore both by day and by night.
Contributor: Ellen Varoy from volunteerhq.org
Be ready to discover that there isn't one single Spanish culture but many different cultures in one country. It's a great idea to visit at least two (but ideally 3 if you have at least 10 days to travel) different areas: Madrid and Andalusia/Seville, or Basque Country/Bilbao and Catalonia/Barcelona.
Have a mind open to realise the differences between each community: sometimes even a totally different language, sometimes opposite politic views, always a quite different historical base (from the Romans, to the Muslims, from the Celtics and the Iberian tribes to the medieval lords). Day trips out of the city are a great opportunity to get the feel of that even more, because you get away from the noise of the city and plunge into more authentic and untouched territory.
Contributor: Marta Laurent from ForeverBarcelona.com
Don't leave big tips. Tipping is optional, but if you feel inclined to leave a tip just round up or leave a couple of euros at most.
(Spain is unlike a country like the United States in its tipping customs and more similar to somewhere like the United Kingdom in its approach.)
Contributor: Cepee Tabibian from shehitrefresh.com
Like with most tourist hotspots, there is petty crime in Spain. So, beware of pickpockets and don’t leave valuable items exposed or lying around.
It might be an idea to invest in a secure and easily watched backpack or piece of clothing that helps your peace of mind more than anything.
Contributor: Caleb Backe from mapleholistics.com
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